According to an article in the New York Times, allegations that the voice behind Sesame Street's favourite red furball had underage sex have now been recanted. Elmo fans everywhere can breathe a squeaky sigh of relief, but has the damage been done to the puppeteer's reputation?
Not only did the accusations reveal that Kevin Clash is gay—a fact that he'd kept under wraps throughout his impressive career at Sesame—but that he had illegal relations with a minor. Turns out that while the two did have a relationship, as revealed by explicit email exchanges, the accuser admitted via a statement from law firm, Andreozzi & Associates, that he was a consenting adult at the time.
“I am relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest," Mr. Clash said via a spokesperson. "I will not discuss it further.”
Sesame Street is clearly happy to put the matter to rest, although it has given no indication as to when Mr. Clash will return to work. But will the public be able to separate the words “under-age sex” and “Elmo,” after it was trending on Twitter.
As one of the show's longstanding puppeteers, Mr. Clash was featured last year in a documentary, “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey." Is his reputation as a children's entertainer salvageable, or is it water under the bridge?